Three years ago: Olivia Dunham lost a closer-than-close partner and joined a secret division of the FBI devoted to investigating weird science crimes. Two years ago: Deadly shape-shifting terrorists from Another Earth began infiltrating our world to pursue a cryptic agenda. One year ago: Against the backdrop of mounting tensions between two imperiled, warring realities, a brainwashed hero kept seeing glimpses of a loved one she no longer recognized. Now: “Neither Here Nor There,” last night’s season premiere of Fringe, synthesized key elements of past premieres to launch a rebooted Fringeverse, one where many of the archetypes and events (surprisingly) remain much the same, with one profound exception: Peter Bishop has been scrubbed from history, apparently from the point of his childhood death. No Fringe Division adventures. Never sired a kid with Bolivia-as-Fauxlivia. No tulip field bonding with Young Olivia. Our heroes aren't quite right without a Peter in their life. Those who loved him and were loved by him feel incomplete or impaired by his absence despite not knowing him, at least as an adult. But never fear! Lincoln Lee is here! The peripheral Fringe player was promoted to full-time presence in the premiere, and he made an instant, positive impression -- on us, and on the team. Maybe that Peter-shaped void won't be so hard to fill after all. Bye, Pete. Enjoy your eternity wandering the nameless streets and boundless horizons of the ethereal plane...
Walter Bishop kept having Looking Glass sightings of forgotten Peter – in the mirror, on the TV. Yet this was no flicker of a mad hatter’s mind: We, too, saw a blurry blink in the Harvard lab. Peter Bishop: The Dead Elvis of Fringe. Unstuck in time, a glitch in the matrix, adrift in the bleed between universes. Or maybe, just maybe… literally lodged in his father’s gray matter? Friends, I think we’re looking at a Voldemortian Pickle. The opening credits included the words “Philosopher’s Stone” amid the mix of esoteric and speculative science terminology – and we recall that in Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone (the original British title of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone), the disembodied Dark Lord used the noggin of a high-strung professor as a flop house while he conspired to conjure a reincarnation gambit. Will Walter become convinced his head has been hijacked by dark passenger, just as Season 1 Olivia was so certain that her dead beau was haunting her own noodle? I suspect we're looking at a season where motifs from past seasons will be played out anew, but in tweaked form.
“Psychic surgery” and “psychogenesis” were also seen during the title card parade of protoplasmic bubbles and subatomic super-strings. Crunching the clues with my most logical Spock brain, I arrive at this fascinating prediction: Olivia will go to the Genesis planet, retrieve Peter’s regenerated body, and take him to Vulcan where techno-mages will undo the Walter/Peter mind-meld by downloading Peter’s consciousness into his Genesis body via psychic surgery. Then: A whale watching vacation in San Francisco!
GET ON YOUR (RE)BOOTS!
Olivia, full of grace -- “One of these things is not like the other.” – Pantsless Walter, Full Metal Alchemist – How to build a quantum memory eraser -- “Did you bring candy?” -- Dimensional transport via Marilyn Monroe updraft grate – Tommy. Timmy. Whatever. -- Videodrome Peter does “Vacant” by Dream Theater. “Hey you, Hey you, I’m right here.”
We began one week after Peter built a bridge between the endangered worlds and told the Walters and Olivias to play nice and fix things. On the Liberty Island promenade that straddles the alternate realities, the two Olivias traded boxes of classified X-files, hoping old investigations will hold clues to multiverse salvation. Reboot History Update: The Olivias no longer have the common bond of Peter, but Olivia was still kidnapped by Walternate, and Bolivia still spent time working undercover “over here." They still despise each other, too. “You know, being you, living your life, only made me more homesick for my universe,” Bolivia teased. “It must be hard, developing trust in people, when all you’ve got is yourself. It must get terribly lonely.” Olivia fumed -- in part, because she knew her cracked twin correct. The truth can hurt like a bitch, can't it? Perhaps in episodes to come, the dead ringer Dunhams will Hardy Boy up and do some Nancy Drewing together. Until then: Rawwwr!
NEXT: Man-Thing, I think I loathe you. Don't eat my excess iron!